Concept Development and Quality of Feedback—these two CLASS dimensions used to elicit a sense of fear in me, and I suspect they do for other early childhood educators, too. The fear came from hearing the average teacher’s scores in these dimensions, confusing the two dimensions, and from knowing how important they are to impacting children’s cognitive development.
Well, fear can paralyze you and shut you down—or it can wake you up and get you moving. I chose to wake up and get moving by remembering the importance of these two dimensions and how to keep them straight.
This dimension focuses on the process of learning, how higher-order thought processes are promoted, and how much thinking is going on. When effective Concept Development is happening, teachers help children find answers themselves. Children are learning how to think (versus rote recall). In Concept Development, there are no wrong answers. Teachers guide children to make connections to what they’ve already learned, connect to the real world, and encourage children to understand and think!
Points to remember about Concept Development:
Quality of Feedback is in response to what children say or do. It is the quality of the response (or feedback) that is given to children. In this dimension, teachers keep children thinking, keep children going, and keep children learning. When a teacher has effective Quality of Feedback, they promote learning without children feeling like they are being pushed. It is specific, in the moment, and encourages a child to learn more.
Points to remember about Quality of Feedback:
The depth and effectiveness of both Concept Development and Quality of Feedback prepare children for the learning they will have to do after they leave Pre-K. When teachers initiate higher-order thinking skills they set the stage for children to analyze, create, and solve problems. And teachers who provide effective feedback expand children’s learning, understanding, and participation! Isn’t that what matters?
Keep these key points in mind, and you too will keep these commonly confused dimensions straight! I’d love to hear how you remember the differences between Concept Development and Quality of Feedback. Share your comments below!
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in December 2015, but has since been revised to keep the content relevant and accurate.
Calvary City Academy & Preschool closed on March 13, along with most programs in Florida. While closed, we had much to prepare for reopening. While children were home, we prepared packets to send home, met with children virtually, and even hosted things like field day, spirit week, and graduation virtually! Even with those successes, we were so happy to be able to return to being in-person when we reopened in June. Since June, we’ve learned a lot. Here’s what’s working for us:
Across the country and around the globe, schools/programs will soon reopen after extended closures due to COVID-19. Those that have remained open are instituting new health and safety practices.. Localities will determine whether to provide in-person, online, or hybrid teaching. Regardless of the model that schools/programs adopt, classrooms will look different now and for the foreseeable future.
Across the nation, teachers learning about CLASS are asked to narrate their actions and sportscast their children’s experiences in order to support and encourage healthy language development. Hearing this, many teachers may wonder, “Will people think I’m crazy if I start talking to myself in the classroom?”
The answer is no. Self- and parallel talk are beneficial strategies for teachers to engage in because they strengthen language rich environments and enhance vocabulary development, all while supporting effective relationship building between teachers and children.